acoustic guitar pickguard

EXPLAINED: Does Pickguard Affect Sound Acoustic Guitar?

Most acoustic guitars have pickguards, but do you know what they do for your acoustic guitar tone?  Take a look below.

Does pickguard affect sound acoustic guitar?

Yes.  For me, I think that acoustic guitars sound better without a pickguard because they produce better sound. This is because the top of the guitar can vibrate more freely. A pickguard prevents some of this vibration by covering part of the top.

I don’t believe that the same applies for electric guitars because a lot of the sound if from the pickups instead of the guitar body.  So not a lot of noticeable difference in tone with electric guitars.

What Is A Pickguard And Why Do Guitars Have Pickguards?

A pickguard is a piece of protective material and an acoustic guitar part that prevents the guitar player from damaging their instrument. It is usually made of plastic and usually covers the area just below the sound hole. It also shields your musical instrument from being scratched by picks, fingernails, and rings.

Pickguard Vs No Pickguard

A pickguard can affect the tone of your acoustic guitar. The reason why it affects the sound of an acoustic guitar is because it usually covers the top, and prevents it from vibrating as freely. For example: when you play a pickguard-less acoustic guitar, the sound is usually wider, and louder than when you play a pick-guarded one.

Pickguard Materials

  • Plastic – This is perhaps the most common pickguard material. It is usually used for affordable instruments and provides pretty good protection. It can still retain some of the natural tone of your acoustic guitar while providing a level of protection that some instruments need.
  • Wood – Most high-end guitars have wood pickguards on them although you can get plastic ones on some acoustic guitars.

Wood vs. Plastic Pickguards

Some people like to use plastic pickguards, and others like to use wood pickguards. For me personally, I prefer wood guitar pick guards because they sound better. This is why they cost more than plastic ones; because they are usually made of higher quality materials and cover the top of my acoustic guitars better. But this is my opinion, and you may like one more than the other.

Can You Put A Pickguard On A Guitar That Doesn’t Have One?

Yes.  Keep reading to find out how.

Adding A Pickguard To An Acoustic Guitar

Installing a new pickguard on an acoustic guitar is fairly easy and cheap to do.  No need for a guitar technician.

  1. Place the pickguard on the top of the guitar and position it where you want it to be installed.  Check it over to see if any trimming is needed arouns the soundhole or edge of the guitar.  Put it aside.
  2. Clean the area of the guitar top where you want to install the pickguard.
  3. With a spray bottle, spray a tiny amount of soapy water in the area that you want to install the pickguard.
  4. Peel back the protective film on your pickguard, like a sticker.
  5. Position it on the guitar.  the soapy water will help you to be able to slide it around and get it in just the right place.
  6. Use a dry cloth to firmly wipe down the pickguard and push out the water from underneath.
  7. Let dry.

Removing A Pickguard From An Acoustic Guitar

This sounds like it could be intimidating but it is actually a fairly simple process if you take your time through the steps involved.

  1. Take a new pickguard and carefully line it up over the old pickguard to make sure that it covers the same footprint on the guitar.
  2. Removal of the old pickguard.  Take a hairdryer and heat up the old pickguard.  Don’t get too close and be careful not to get it too hot.
  3. Once it is heated up enough, you should notice that the edges of the pickguard start to lift up as the glue heats up.
  4. Slowly peel up the pickguard while continuing to run the hairdryer over it.  Again, make sure not to get the finish of the guitar too hot.
  5. Keep going until the pickguard is completely free from the guitar.
  6. At this point, you are going to see a fair amount of residue left behind by the adhesive.  This is normal.
  7. With your thumb, you can rub the residue off.  It’s a long process but you can speed it up with a few squirts of lemon oil.  Just squirt it on all areas of the residue and let it set for a little while.  Then try rubbing it off from there.
  8. Once all the residue if off, give the area a good cleaning with a guitar polishing cloth and some guitar polish.


Does pickguard affect sound acoustic guitar?  Yes. For me, I think that acoustic guitars sound better without a pickguard because they produce better sound. This is because the top of the guitar can vibrate more freely. Pick guards prevent some of this vibration by covering part of the top.